In these last ten days there have been new political
initiatives, in line with what we had decided at the Foreign
Affairs Council ten days ago. Over the last days we have
discussed, coordinated on these initiatives with the four actors
of the Normandy format: with Germany, France, Ukraine - with
President Poroshenko directly several times in these days - and
with Russia; I myself had a bilateral meeting with Minister
Lavrov in Munich.
And I have already had the chance of expressing something that
unites us and has united us all in these months and in these
days: that we all believe that solution to the crisis in Ukraine
can only be a political one, so we endorsed today with the
Foreign Ministers all efforts done in these hours, in view of a
new meeting on Wednesday to reach, finally, an implementation in
full of the Minsk agreements.
Today as I said the point was not on the agenda, but we are
politicians, we deal with what is on the political agenda, being
flexible enough to adapt our discussions to what is needed at
the moment. We discussed and adopted the list of additional
names of 19 individuals and nine entities that will be subject
to asset freeze and visa ban, as it was decided in our last
meeting ten days ago.
In order to give space for our diplomatic efforts in these hours
to be developed with the maximum of chances for success, we
decided unanimously, united, to put the entry into force of the
measures on hold until Monday 16 February, as we believe it is
our duty to give this attempt that we are doing a chance. Then
we will have the opportunity to assess the developments first of
all on the ground, but also the developments of this initiative
on Thursday with the Heads of State and Government.
We have been consistent in our decisions, timely and united, and
we count on continuing to do so for the future.
We also discussed and decided on some other issues that are
major concerns for our region, starting from Libya, where we
have decided to give not only all our political but also
concrete support to the small but encouraging steps of dialogue,
internal dialogue, that the UN is leading. Good news is that
apparently this dialogue has some chances, involving all sides.
We know that the situation is - and is going to stay - fragile,
but the European Union has some instruments, together with the
Member States, to encourage and to protect this dialogue in its
further steps to try and prevent the situation from getting out
of control completely in Libya. We have to give strength to the
outcome of these talks and it means in particular to look in the
way we can support the confidence building measures that have
been discussed and might be implemented in the future.
We have also discussed and approved conclusions on Yemen. That
is a situation that worries us a lot and that requires from us,
today in these hours - when the UN is resuming inclusive talks -
a strong political message to say that the framework provided by
the GCC initiative has to remain a point of reference.
And we discussed and approved a series of measures and
conclusions also on other crisis areas, in particular related to
Africa, on which we will discuss further in March.
We adopted conclusions following up our discussion in January on
counter-terrorism, related to how European Union external action
can help and complement the internal measures that were
discussed and decided by interior ministers. The informal
Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial was held in Riga at the end
of January, so we decided a set of concrete actions and
initiatives to be taken immediately by the European Union
together with Member States, in particular to strengthen and
increase the cooperation activities with some key countries – in
the Middle East, in the Arab world, in North Africa, in Sahel
and in the Gulf – to work further on our diplomatic activities
to try to solve the open crises, starting from the Middle East
conflict. Palestine, as you know, was the centre of our work
yesterday with the Quartet Principals. And to work, in
particular, on prevention and on information exchange with key
countries like Turkey or Saudi Arabia in our efforts to prevent
and to counter terrorism from the external action side.
It is an ambitious plan: you might want to look at the
conclusions in detail to see all the measures that will
constitute a substantial input to the discussions that the Heads
of State and Government will have on this, later in the week, on
Obviously it is an ambitious plan that will need to be
implemented. I hope - this will be done very coherently and
quickly, and on this we will obviously need the cooperation not
only of all the European Union institutions, but also of Member
States, that are very much aware of the fact that this is, and
has to stay, a priority of our not only internal and security
action, but also of our diplomatic and Foreign policy.
Tonight we are resuming, restarting, the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue,
so I will have to leave to meet the two Prime Ministers for the
first time. That is going to be something very important, an
exercise that the European Union is facilitating, has been
facilitating rather successfully in these years and that I
intend to continue to facilitate in the future. So, I hope that
tonight we will be able to conclude the day on a positive note.